It’s been a year and half since Gary and I moved into our little ‘perfect for us’ flat just outside the centre of Liverpool, and we couldn’t be happier. It’s not the biggest place, but we really do love it here. We have a spare bedroom I use as an office/photography space/dumping ground for blogger mail, we live in a nice quiet area with quiet neighbours, and the whole place is super secure in a courtyard with codes, keys, and whatnot. Perfect for me really so I feel safe, since I’m alone 3 nights a week while Gary works nights.
But it was hard work getting to this point. You know, where you’ve actually found the perfect place for you, that also doesn’t leave you broke at the end of the month. Both Gary and I lived with our parents, then each moved out during University. But when we got our flat together here, it was the first time both of us got a ‘proper’ place to rent together. Not just halls of residence or a house share with other students; a place we could settle into and make our own. We have just signed another 12 month contract to keep renting here actually, since we are so happy and we don’t have any plans to buy a place anytime soon (sob, that’s a long way off!).
In the run up to getting into this little dream flat of ours though, it was kind of hellish! We learned a thing or two that I think might be helpful to pass onto you guys. If any of you are going to be getting your own place in the near future, this post might prove helpful to bookmark!
DO YOUR RESEARCH.
When we were looking for places, we searched online within the area we wanted within the price range we wanted. That’s pretty standard, yeah? The things we didn’t initially think about were to check what the average energy usage bills would be, what the council tax bills would be like, etc. All these other bills will add up, and even if you have a place with an awesome rent price – take note of what the other bills will be! It will vary place to place.
FIND A GREAT ESTATE AGENT.
The worst part about flat/house hunting for us was dealing with crappy estate agents. We had ones that booked viewings for us, then just wouldn’t turn up. They never got in touch to let us know they wouldn’t be coming, and they didn’t apologise when we called outside the flats/houses and asked why nobody was here to meet us STILL after 40 minutes. It was hell! Luckily we eventually found an awesome place, with lovely staff who helped us, gave us all the information we needed (and extra we didn’t think about) and we have a landlord we are SO happy with now. So again, do your research! Check what other renters/buyers think of the estate agents, check if they have a good social media presence (this can be so helpful, good example here) and speak to the landlord directly if possible.
HAVE A CLEAR OUT.
We went from living in one room at my Mum’s, to having a whole new place of our own. This meant we made the mistake of thinking this meant LOADS of new space, and so we didn’t have to really get rid of any belongings. Silly Jemma and Gary. Having a clear out makes it so helpful to really take a look at what you need, and make space for NEW things. Because the thing is, there will be lots of new things that you do REALLY need! More furniture, appliances, general household stuff. And if you’re still clutching your limited edition Barbie dream house you’ve had since you were 5; you might end up hating yourself when struggling to get it all into the new space.
KEEP ESSENTIALS CLOSE.
That first night of moving you’ll be exhausted and want nothing more than to just shower, get into pjs and make sure the bed is ready for all your zzzzz’s. The best advice I could give is to have a backpack full of absolute essentials ready for you when you need it. Think tea/coffee, milk, mugs, snacks, pjs, toiletries, chargers and bed sheets. Think about what you’ll be doing and what you’ll need at hand!
What changes can you make to the property? (if renting), what will the landlord/estate agents help with if needed? (eg. Fire alarm checks/repurchasing), are there pet allowances? All these little things will become important at some point, and it’s worth checking out early on, so you have all the information you need.
I hope this helps you guys! Please leave any tips in the comments that have helped you in the past, as I think this could be invaluable for people who are a little lost 🙂
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